Leon Williams Contractors’ design-build experience positions us well for the future

    Here are five construction trends to look for in 2018

    Efficiency is more than a buzzword to us. Our design-build model vastly streamlines the construction process in multiple East Tennessee construction sectors, including church, retail, restaurant and medical construction.


    It seems the entire construction market is catching on to the need to streamline projects from the design to building phases. Efficiency – from preconstruction to modular construction – is top of mind in many predictions of top 2018 construction trends.

    Here are five trends to look for in the construction sector in 2018:

    1. Growth rates will vary by sector, but overall nonresidential construction, which we specialize in, will grow about 3 percent in 2018. That growth could be higher or lower, of course, depending on everything from the final structure of federal tax reform to whether long-awaited infrastructure spending will materialize on the local, state and federal fronts. Interest rates remain low, and if corporate tax cuts proceed, that could arguably inject more capital into the economy.
    2. Increasing costs of supplies and labor will prompt construction companies to further identify cost-saving measures. Our economical design-build and value-engineering model is ahead of the curve, and look for more companies to adopt this approach. We already have years of experience with this method, and we cut costs, not corners.
    3. Technology will continue to drive and enhance our design-build process. From project management reports via smart phones to 3-D design methods and active use of social media, we will stay on top of these tech trends to better communicate and plan your project from beginning to end. That’s yet another hallmark of our proven design-build process in East Tennessee.
    4. Technology will also continue to drive safety improvements. As the construction market roared back to life in recent years following the Great Recession, injuries and fatalities at construction sites increased, too. We follow strict protocols at every job site to ensure our employees and site workers are working as wisely and safely as possible.
    5. Look for more state and federal programs to teach construction fundamentals to younger generations to address a labor crunch in the construction market. In Tennessee, that includes Tennessee Promise, a scholarship program geared toward getting more adults a secondary education, including vocational training.

    The prognosticators may not be perfect, but one thing is clear as we head into 2018: It’s going to be another great year for our design-build construction company in Maryville, Knoxville and elsewhere in East Tennessee. Contact us today  for more information.

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    A beginner’s guide to office renovation

    For many businesses, the idea of renovating an office space offers excitement about the possibilities that can be accomplished. From expanding an existing space to prepare for new employees to renovating a new location to meet the demands for products and services, the team at Leon Williams Contractors have worked with business owners to design and manage office renovations that have helped drive growth for our clients. Office Renovation

    A company that is looking for an office renovation partner may be beginners when it comes to planning out the extent of changes for their office designs. The design/build, pre-construction consultation and value engineering services offered by Leon Williams Contractors can help ensure success for your office renovation in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee.

    Before you get started on an office renovation product, there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind to help drive success for your renovation, including:

    Plan Ahead
    Before starting on your office renovation project, the best advice is to plan ahead for what your business is trying to accomplish. Are you designing the renovations to add staff, to offer more products and services or are you simply tired of the way that your interior looks? Planning ahead for the future of your business in one year, three years and even ten years in the future can help you determine the best plans for your office renovations. The design/build services of Leon Williams Contractors can be incorporated into your planning to help decide the best use of your office space to meet the future demands of your business.

    Assess your current property
    If your current business property is older, having the team at Leon Williams Contractors engage in a site assessment can help save you money in the long run. Your existing building may not be up to code, which will necessitate updating of your plans for your office renovation prior to the beginning of work. In addition, while using existing systems might save you money in your upfront costs during a renovation, your business may be better served by updating to new systems to lower long term operating costs in your renovated office space.

    Determine your budget
    While it may be exciting to think about all of the changes that you could implement during your office renovation, determining your budget for your office renovation can help you prevent over-extending what you want to accomplish for your business in the long term. Extensive renovations to your office space need to be prepared with your future business goals in mind, especially if you determine that growth in your business means that you move to a larger space in the future. Decide if the renovations that you are making will make your building more likely to sell if you decide to expand your business operations and incorporate value engineering services from Leon Williams Contractors to find the best use of your office renovation budget.

    When your business has determined that the time is right for an office renovation, leverage the experience and knowledge of our teams to help you prepare your business for your future needs. For more information on how we can assist you with your office renovation requirements, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn how our knowledge and expertise can be used to your advantage.

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    Get the most out of your construction budget in 2017

    After a strong 2016 for commercial construction, the American Institute of Architects is anticipating an equally strong 2017, with forecasted growth of 5.6 percent anticipated. While national figures can often be different from the forecasts for Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City and Maryville, the team at Leon Williams Contractors is anticipating growth in commercial construction throughout our area this year.

    However, an anticipated rise in the commercial construction doesn’t mean that you should not maximize the opportunities related to your commercial construction budget for 2017. Commercial construction projects often run on tight schedules and even tighter budget constraints, so ensuring that you get the most out of your construction budget can help keep your projects financially responsible throughout the duration of your project.

    Some of the ways to get the most out of your commercial construction budget in 2017:

    1. Utilize Design/Build Services
    You can simplify your commercial construction building process by utilizing design/build services from Leon Williams Contractors. Used correctly, design-build services combines skill sets more effectively to make the most out of your construction budget. In addition, design/build allows you to reduce project delivery time, offer fewer changes and claims, offer continuity between designers and contractors and make the construction project run more efficiently. The benefits of working with a design/build partner like Leon Williams Contractors can help offer the most value for your construction budget in 2017.

    2. Consultation and Site Assessments
    Having access to a site assessment prior to beginning a commercial construction project can help minimize unforeseen expenses related to your project. From determining if your site is acceptable for the type of commercial project that you are creating or assessing concerns as they relate to road accessibility, including a site assessment program as a part of your commercial construction planning can help to pre-plan for potential issues before beginning commercial construction.

    3. Value Engineering
    To offer the most value for your commercial construction projects in East Tennessee, Knoxville, Blount County, Maryville and Lenoir City, the incorporation of value engineering into commercial construction planning and implementation can capitalize on your construction investment. Value engineering services from Leon Williams Contractors can deliver evaluation, construction quality and anticipated project life expectancy of your commercial construction project.

    With high growth expectations for commercial construction in 2017 in Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City and Maryville, finding ways to make the most of your commercial construction budget can help keep your project on time and within scope. For more information on how we can assist you, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn about our variety of commercial construction services available.

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    Building for the future: 2017 Southeast Construction Trends

    Commercial construction has a healthy outlook for 2017, with a rise expected at a rate of 5.6 percent in 2017 after a growth of 5.8 percent in 2016. While recent changes may cause these numbers to show slight variations throughout the year, the team at Leon Williams Contractors believes that commercial construction in Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City and Maryville should meet or exceed expectations in the coming year.

    Commercial Construction Leon Williams Contractors Design Build Services

    At Leon Williams Contractors, our principals have been designing and building for the residential community and for the commercial needs of Knoxville and East Tennessee since 1964. For generations, Leon Williams Contractors has worked with commercial clients throughout our area on a wide variety of projects. While we have seen a number of trends in commercial construction come and go throughout the years, we believe that these predictions will be a part of construction trends in the Southeast for 2017:

    1. Importance of Design/Build

    The use of design-build services versus traditional design-bid-build services will continue to grow in 2017. Design-build services are designed to lower unit costs, improve construction and delivery speed, while also reducing unnecessary growth related to costs and schedule. With nearly 40% of non-residential design and construction being created as design-build projects, the benefits of working with design-build partner like Leon Williams Contractors can create better outcomes for your commercial construction projects in the coming year.

    2. Utilizing Site Assessments

    As commercial construction grows in 2017, understanding the importance of site assessments will be critical for businesses that are looking to grow their footprint without expanding their costs exponentially. Utilizing a site assessment program as a part of your commercial construction planning can help to identify, assess and pre-plan for potential issues prior to the construction process, allowing businesses to save time and budget overages.

    3. Jobs Growth for Skilled Construction Workers

    Anticipated growth in the commercial construction sector is a potential boon for those looking for jobs related to construction in the coming year. With construction employment rising in 39 states in the past year, opportunities are available for skilled construction workers, although the existing pool of skilled workers continues to dwindle. To help find and train more skilled construction workers to meet demand in Tennessee, the state created a program in 2016 called Go Build Tennessee to help encourage young people that are interested in the construction and contracting industries to become skilled tradesmen. The team at Leon Williams Contractors is committed to the growth of the trades in East Tennessee, Knoxville, Blount County, Maryville and Lenoir City and encourages those looking for job opportunities in our area to pursue a career in the skilled trades!

    2017 is shaping up to be a busy year for the commercial construction industry in our area, so if you are looking for assistance with commercial construction or design build services in Blount County, Knoxville, Lenoir City or Maryville, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors for more information about our services.

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    Finding the right space for your restaurant is key

    Leon Williams Contractors, a commercial and residential design/build company, has developed many commercial, residential and retail buildings in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee, in addition to building and renovating existing spaces for many of the restaurants throughout our area. If you are thinking of starting your own restaurant or other food and drink-based establishment, the design-build experts at Leon Williams Contractors can help you find the best location for your restaurant construction needs.

    Leon Williams Contractors restaurant construction

    We provide a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. We can also help you obtain an existing structure and remodel it if that approach makes more sense to your budget and design plans. The main considerations in Maryville, Blount County and East Tennessee to consider for your restaurant planning include:

    You can’t beat a good location. Our familiarity with Maryville, Blount County and East Tennessee can be leveraged to help you find a high traffic location with access to utilities and other amenities to help maximize your opportunity in the restaurant space. The team at Leon Williams Contractors is experienced in finding the right place for the right business throughout our area and can leverage our experience on your behalf.


    Our wide ranging capabilities related to existing space renovation will allow our team to adapt nearly any space to accommodate your restaurant plans. If we deem the existing spaces aren’t useable, we will design and build your space to appeal to you and your potential customers to help create the best possible result for your restaurant location.


    Is parking nearby? Is the restaurant easy to get to? Are there attractive sidewalks and scenery? Are other restaurants and businesses nearby that attract strolling and walk-by foot traffic? We’ll find out if the building codes in Maryville, Blount County and Knoxville will allow a restaurant space to be created and to ensure that there is adequate water, sewer, electrical and even internet connectivity to accommodate your restaurant design plans.

    We know that starting a restaurant is tough, but when you work with Leon Williams Contractors, we can offer expert restaurant construction and build out advice, assist with planning your space for success and we will can design, build or renovate your new restaurant in your chosen location to help you attain your business ownership dreams.

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    Is your business expanding? The pros and cons of building for growth

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, offers complete general contractor services, including a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. Regardless of the size and scope of the project, the team at Leon Williams Contractors delivers outstanding, on-time and on-budget results and can assist your business when it comes time for building for growth of your business. 

    As many businesses are looking to expand their operations to meet the demands of their customers, one question that we often discuss with clients is understanding the pros and cons of building a new space for expected expansion versus expanding the build of an existing location to meet anticipated needs. This question can also be considered for worship centers as well; a recent project that our teams worked on for Foothills Church shows the importance of determining the best choices for expansion for your organization.

    Building for Growth with Leon Williams Contractors
    Understanding Expansion Planning with existing locations
    Regardless of the business that you are in, expansion of your reach is a process that will involve a large number of moving parts before you make the move to expand. From a practical standpoint, taking stock of your current building location to see if you have additional space to grow should be one of the first steps in the process of expansion. 

    For industrial and manufacturing clients, engaging with a design/build firm to determine if your existing space will support an expansion of your current footprint can offer excellent insight in the creation of an expansion plan with the resources that you have in place. Retail and restaurant clients may have specific restrictions in their existing space, which may necessitate a move to a new, larger location that would help your business expand your retail or dining space to better serve a larger volume of customers at this new location. 

    Building for Growth
    No matter the type of business that you are looking to expand, planning for growth should include planning for the future of your business. From a strategic standpoint, while you may be thinking about this next step of expansion, consider what the next step will be after this step. If your business continues to grow, ask yourself how you would want to proceed when you decide to grow your business again.

    Having a partner like Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, will allow you to use our design/build, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, as well as our value engineering services, to not only plan your initial expansion, but to determine the best ways to help your business grow to meet the demands of your clients over time.

    To learn more about Leon Williams Contractors and how we can provide the services to help your business expand on a schedule that makes sense for your individual business needs, please contact us today to find out how we can assist you with your next project.

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    Go Build Tennessee Program

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, offers complete general contractor services, including a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. As a Tennessee based contractor and construction firm, we are well aware that our state depends on the skilled tradesmen that call our area home and we are extremely excited about the new opportunity related to a state initiative, Go Build Tennessee.

    This new program is designed to encourage young people to become interested in the construction and contracting industry to help drive growth in the state of Tennessee for skilled tradesmen. According to the GoBuildTennessee website, the following statistics offer detailed information about the current state of Tennessee’s trade industries: Go Build Tennessee Leon Williams

    Tennessee’s Construction Industry is getting older and the talent pool is growing smaller:

    Thousands of men and women leave the trades every year, and there aren’t enough young workers to replace them. For Tennessee to continue to prosper, we have to start from the ground up.

    The average age of a construction tradesman today is 50 years old.

    For every five people who leave the trades, only one replacement is supplied by apprenticeship programs.

    New Workers are needed in Tennessee to maintain the growth of the construction industry:

    6.6 million Americans are employed by a construction trade annually.

    The construction industry is projected to grow by 22% through 2022.

    Students interested in the trades don’t need a four year degree to make a great living:

    Thousands of new jobs open up every year, and with training programs throughout the state, you can start earning a competitive salary with increasing benefits right away without worrying about student loans.

    It will take 39% of college graduates 10+ years to pay off their student loans.

    87% of apprentices find jobs when they’re finished.

    Qualified skilled tradesmen make an average of $50,000 annually.

    Commercial construction tradesmen are paid on average 33% more per week than the rest of Americans.

    Two and Four year degrees do offer opportunities:

    While you don’t need a degree to get started in the trades, having a two year or four year degree does offer some advantages.

    For those students who may want to further their careers and may be interested in architecture, the requirements include a four year degree and to pass the Architect Registration Examination.

    Individuals who have an associates or bachelor’s degree can make more money in the long run.

    Workers with college degrees generally have lower unemployment rates and earn more money than those with a high school diploma.

    Leon Williams Contractors has worked with East Tennessee clients on a wide range of retail and commercial construction projects, including banks, medical facilities, commercial offices, residential projects, restaurants, and retail locations. Our team is committed to the growth of the trades in Tennessee and are looking for students who are interested in learning more about the opportunities that the Go Build Tennessee project will mean for our state.

    To learn more about Leon Williams Contractors, the projects that we work on in Tennessee and the services that we provide, please contact us today to learn how we can assist you with your next project.

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    Project Profile: La Lupita

    We’re currently constructing the third La Lupita location in Lenoir City, Tennessee, where the business is currently using a leased space. We have previously completed two locations for Manuel, the owner of La Lupita, with one in Maryville and the other in Loudon.

    We expect the Lenoir City location to be complete by April 2015. The new location will feature a 5100 square foot  Hispanic grocery store and restaurant space, as well as a  2100 square foot  adjacent Laundromat. Below are pictures of the property prior to breaking ground:

    La Lupita LC 2 La Lupita LC 1

    La Lupita is renowned for its authentic Hispanic cuisine and well-known for its baked goods. The Loudon location was completed in February of 2011 and features a restaurant, grocery store, hair/nail salon and Laundromat and is slightly larger than the Lenoir City location.

    La Lupita Loudon 1 La Lupita Loudon 3 La Lupita Loudon 2

    The Maryville location was the original La Lupita, and it was our first time working with the business.  This location varies from the Loudon and Lenior City locations, because the Maryville store features retail space instead of a Laundromat.  We were able to help the Owners overcome poor soil conditions in that old tanks and trash were found under the expansion site. These are some pictures of the original building:

    La Lupita Maryville 3 La Lupita Existing 008 La Lupita Maryville 1 La Lupita Marvyille 2

    At Leon Williams Contractors, we are excited to be part of La Lupita’s growth, and looking forward to helping Maria and Manuel continue their expansion as they offer authentic Hispanic food to other East Tennessee communities.

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    How Do White Roofs Cut Energy Costs in Commercial Buildings?

    As energy costs continue to rise, and as companies become more environmentally conscious, we’re seeing an increasing trend toward green building in the commercial construction industry.

    At Leon Williams Contractors, we want to make sure we’re knowledgeable about easy, affordable ways to build in an eco-friendly manner, for our East Tennessee clients who may want to make use of those techniques.

    One way more companies are incorporating “green” elements into their buildings is through the use of color. That doesn’t mean actually painting the entire building in shades of green. Rather, it means that you choose colors for elements of a building, especially on the roof, that will cut down on energy costs. And it may surprise you to learn that while dark roofs are still the dominant choice in residential and commercial building, it’s actually better to choose a light-colored roof.

    Think of it this way: Let’s say you were attending an outdoor business function on a hot, sunny day, and you were required to wear a long-sleeved, button down shirt – but could choose the color of that shirt. Would your instinct be to think that a lighter color or a darker color would keep you more comfortable? A light colored shirt would reflect sunlight away from you, keeping you cooler.

    Likewise, a light colored roofing material, sometimes called a “white” or “cool” roof, reflects sunlight away from a building, lowering the temperature of the roof itself, cutting indoor energy use by as much as 20 percent, and even cutting carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, a study found that if cities used reflective roofing on all their buildings, it would offset the emissions put out by all the cars in the world, for the next 18 years.

    Many developers and architects still choose dark roofs for aesthetic purposes, but as you can see, the benefits of choosing a white roof are worthwhile. If you’re interested in incorporating a light-colored roof in your next commercial construction project, contact Leon Williams Contractors today to find out how we can do that for you.


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    Roman construction techniques are greener than we thought

    How can the concrete in our building be more environmentally friendly? How can this commercial construction project be “greener”?

    At Leon Williams Contractors, we field these questions with every project we undertake in the Knoxville, Maryville and East Tennessee area. We have many techniques and processes to build a greener commercial construction property.

    While doing some research, we discovered that “green” construction is not a new idea. Yes, the concepts of protecting the environment and being less of a burden are new, but nature-friendly construction methods date back to the age of the Romans.

    Here’s a few of the interesting things we discovered about how the Romans made environmentally-friendly concrete. The Roman method is far ‘greener’ than current techniques, releasing far less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    Most modern concrete is derived from lime that has been baked at approximately 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. These high temperatures create seven percent of industry carbon dioxide emissions.

    The Romans weren’t thinking of carbon dioxide when making their cement, but the strength of their concrete is no accident.

    Did you know that contemporary concrete is designed to last for about 100 years?

    Yet at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea lie the remains of Roman harbors, buildings and other structures that have remained surprisingly intact for almost 2000 years. What’s the secret to their durable concrete?

    Like modern chemists, Roman builders took limestone and burned it to create lime, a key component of mortar. But then, Roman builders mixed the lime with volcanic ash and saturated the mixture with salt water.

    The reaction between the volcanic ash and the salt water naturally produces a bonding material called calcium aluminum silicate hydrate, or CASH.

    This structure of CASH differs significantly from modern industrial concrete, which lacks aluminum and relies more heavily on silicates.

    Furthermore, an X-ray analysis of the structures revealed that the concrete contains tobermorite, a crystalline material whose structure is considered “ideal”—meaning that the way its molecules arrange themselves is highly organized and therefore very strong–and which is nowhere to be found in industrial concrete.

    Some makers of modern concrete have experimented with using volcanic ash as a substitute for Portland cement, but until now, no one knew how long such mixtures could be expected to last.

    So, if going “green” is important in your next commercial construction project, see what Leon Williams Contractors can offer.

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